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Old 30-12-2011, 10:46   #31
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

A small wood stove takes the edge off the cold as well as damp out of the air. One of the boats here has a wood stove for heat and a wood cookstove. My boat is relatively small so I opted for the Dickinson Newport Solid fuel stove and use a form of "manufactured firewood) that is a bit more solid than the Presto logs.
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Old 30-12-2011, 13:47   #32
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Quote:
Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
A small wood stove takes the edge off the cold as well as damp out of the air. One of the boats here has a wood stove for heat and a wood cookstove. My boat is relatively small so I opted for the Dickinson Newport Solid fuel stove and use a form of "manufactured firewood) that is a bit more solid than the Presto logs.
How often do you have to "feed" that?
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Old 30-12-2011, 13:53   #33
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

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Originally Posted by wolfenzee View Post
A small wood stove takes the edge off the cold as well as damp out of the air. One of the boats here has a wood stove for heat and a wood cookstove. My boat is relatively small so I opted for the Dickinson Newport Solid fuel stove and use a form of "manufactured firewood) that is a bit more solid than the Presto logs.
Hi Wolf,

What brand pressed logs are you using, and where do you find them? All I can find contain wax, which I believe will make them burn too hot for the Newport.

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Old 31-12-2011, 12:38   #34
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

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How often do you have to "feed" that?
I had some problems at first until I put a manual adjust damper in the stovepipe, Dickinson's "barometric damper" didn't work and no damper burned everything up realllly fast. It took awhile to figure out how to use the stove. Basically it depends on how thick the pieces are, when I put them on and whether I cut them with a chisel or a chop saw (rough vs clean cut). First I start it, then put a 1" thick rough cut piece on to get it going before I add something thicker smooth cut, if the flame is too high it burns up fast, too low it goes out. When I had a little larger stove a 3" piece would last the night and leave coals, don't have this figured out quite yet. There are alot of varibles, will let you know in about a week for sure.
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Old 31-12-2011, 18:01   #35
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

I wrote an article in BWS a few years back, about living aboard in Alaska, but my pdf is too big to attach. Let me know and I can email it to you.

In a nutshell:
  1. I second the "double pane" approach with the shrink wrapping.
  2. After the first winter, we switched from a kerosene mast-mounted Force 10 to a diesel Dickinson. The diesel heat was far and away the better choice, and we just run it constantly. We also have an Ecofan on the heater's cooktop, to move the air without power.
  3. We use a 1-2" memory foam mattress topper cut to fit our v-berth. Adds serious insulation to the bed.
  4. Agreed: a dog sure does help, as do flannel or fleece sheets.
  5. We wintered in harbor, in a powered slip, which I understand is not your situation. But I recommend it. Two extra luxuries this allowed for us: an electric blanket, and an electric fan on a shelf directly behind the stack.
Something else that helped us keep warm: Wintering in a place that gets 300+ inches of snow means that we shoveled a lot.

Hope you worked it all out!
Best,
Suz
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Old 17-01-2012, 07:31   #36
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

[QUOTE=osirissail;830186]Just thought of another idea to stay warm at night inside the boat. Most of the heat in the boat is lost through the thin plastic in the overhead hatches.

- - Go to a Home Depot or other discount or large home improvement or lumber supplier and get a sheet of "R-Max" insulation board....QUOTE]

Great thread here! I'm new to this forum, this is my first post, and I think I may have some good input here. I live in the northeast and I'm about to move onto my boat and embark on a permanent journey south, but until now I've worked my whole live in the plumbing and heating business designing jobs for contractors. I do heat loss calculations all day.
I would bet my boat that if I were to do a heat loss calculation on your boat, the most heat would NOT be lost through your small plastic hatches (although I'm sure a fair amount does). Water is a much better heat/cool conductor than air. The vast majority of the heat lost from your boat cabin goes out the area of your hull that is sitting in the water. Putting insulation under your hatches would certainly help, but far more good would be done by insulating your hull below the water line.
I just did a quick heatloss on a boat that's 30' long, 10' beam, 6' headroom, with 4 hatches that are 2x2' each. If it's 10 degrees outside, it would take about 14,000btu's/hr to heat the boat to 70 degrees w/ no insulation. The hatches account for only 1,100btu's of that.
I don't have any clever ideas for how to do this, but a good start might be this: lift up the floor boards that cover your bilge and use some adhesive to put insultation on the underside of these boards. You should use insulation that can get wet, so it won't mold up or deteriorate. Don't know how your boat is layed out, but on mine I would insulate inside the areas of the hull that are inside/behind the settees, as they are below the water line as well. Also under the v-berth, inside the wet locker/closet, under the quarter berth, etc. If you put insulation in all these areas that aren't visually exposed, yet are below the waterline, it would make a HUGE difference in how fast the heat left your cabin.
As for heating it... the human body puts off an average of 340 BTU's per hour, so you'll need a whole lot of dogs!
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Old 17-01-2012, 08:52   #37
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Great thread.

How do you handle ice when you are on the hook? Do you keep chopping it, or do you just freeze-in and live with it?

Regards,
Brad
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Old 17-01-2012, 09:23   #38
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

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. . . I live in the northeast and I'm about to move onto my boat and embark on a permanent journey south, but until now I've worked my whole live in the plumbing and heating business designing jobs for contractors. I do heat loss calculations all day. . . .
Consider that the sidewalls in most boats is inside or behind panels so insulating them - afterwards - it not an easy task, if possible at all without removing and reworking the whole interior arrangement of the boat. Same with bilges and sole (floor) boards. The access panels are small and only located mostly over the deep - water accumulating parts of the bilge. Getting to the underneath of all of the boat's sole if even more difficult than removing the sidewalls.

That leaves the overhead (ceiling/interior side of the cabin top). Normally you will find a major hatch in each living compartment and smaller hatches and ventilators (dorades, etc.) in heads/shower compartments.

Since heat normally rises, the boat fills up with hot air from the overhead down. This, considering the problems mentioned above, leaves insulating or improving practical heat retention a matter of better insulating or shielding the cabin top - and its various holes (hatches, ventilators, etc.). Vertical surfaces of cabin tops tend to be solid FRG (no coring) and about 1/4" or so thick. Horizontal surfaces tend to be cored and about 3/4 to an inch thick. Portholes/lights and hatches are normally plastic/plexiglass/lexan varying from 1/4" to 3/8" thick or so.

Wind, at sometimes "Arctic" temperatures, blows over all the above water parts of the boat and unless your slip/anchorage is ice locked the water temperature is above freezing. Add in that you do need some "fresh air" in the boat so hatches or ports are opened dumping a lot of that heated air.

All this makes heating a normal cruising boat in the northern winter very difficult. Electric heaters are the safest of the various methods unless you have a vented heater/furnace system. But the electric are limited to the circuit size (amperage) and size of the shore power available.
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Old 17-01-2012, 10:34   #39
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

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Since heat normally rises, the boat fills up with hot air from the overhead down. This, considering the problems mentioned above, leaves insulating or improving practical heat retention a matter of better insulating or shielding the cabin top - and its various holes (hatches, ventilators, etc.).
That is a common misconception. Heat does not rise. Heat goes from warmer objects to colder objects. Hot air rises. There's 3 types of heat transfer: convection, conduction, and radiation. So if you're constantly using a heater that uses convection to heat the air, then yes the hot air will rise. The human body (what your really talking about keeping warm) reacts more prevelantly to radiation than air temperature.
A simple example of this: on a hot summer day you walk into a cement/cinder block warehouse and you feel chilly. put a thermometer in that warehouse and the air temperature won't be too different. You feel cold because the block walls suck/absorb the heat off your body. This process has little effect on the air temperature in the room. Well that's what happens at night when you turn off your boat heater and go to sleep.

Obviously starting the insultation with the easiest/most accessible spots like hatches and decks makes sense. I'm just saying this: most of the heat lost from your body in a boat at night does not go out your hatches or even into the air, it goes to the extorior parts of your boat that are touching water.
Here's another simple example: Stand outside on a 65 degree day with no clothes on for an hour. Don't move and you'll be shivering after an hour, do jumping jacks and you'll be sweating in an hour. Then try this in 65 degree water for an hour. Don't move and you'll be dead in an hour. Frantically move (you'd think you're body temp would raise) and you'll be dead in much less than an hour. This is because water absorbs heat/cool much faster and more effectively than air. <--- that's conduction and radiation.
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Old 17-01-2012, 13:48   #40
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

We must be the only happily married couple here. M y wife keeps me warm.
we rarely run the heat at night.
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Old 17-01-2012, 13:54   #41
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

That's interesting and dovetails with my experience. I'm stuck in the ice in a steel sailboat. The cabin sole is by far the most problematic. I throw down some carpet and that helps a little, then some underlay and that helps too. I have been toying with adding that foiled bubble wrap beneath the floor as well but I have my doubts it will do much and perhaps that blue foam would be a better choice. We shall see. Luckily the v-berth remains toasty no matter what is happening outside and I do nothing up there to the hatch or otherwise. Thanks for the info!
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Old 17-01-2012, 15:02   #42
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

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We must be the only happily married couple here. M y wife keeps me warm.
we rarely run the heat at night.
I share your latitude and keep revisiting this thread without anything useful to say. 'glad you managed to contribute!
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Old 17-01-2012, 18:47   #43
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

Shartel,
Most of the heat is lost through the the hull below the water line, however, if it is 10deg outside, the water temp is usually much warmer for most of us (not to say that 35deg water is not sucking more heat out of the boat than 10deg air). But one must consider that if we insulate the floor so well then many of us will still have to heat the bilge or our water tanks, water lines, and engine will freeze. In addition you want to heat your bilge to prevent heavy condensation and damage to engine and generator.
As a liveaboard, you do not want the water below the bilge freezing. So heating the bilge is a requirement for most of us.
There is no easy way to insulate a hull on an existing vessel. Some of us are lucky in that the builder put a thin layer of insulation into the hull from 6" above the water line all the way through the hull. Some even have thin insulation (i do) on all of the hull and that keep the lockers and berths dry.
Thanks for the message, most people think that they don't need heat on their boat in the south, but when the water is down to 50 or 60 deg, you will need heat even in Tampa FL or Houston TX.
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Old 18-01-2012, 03:36   #44
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

ardoin, That's true. When we lived aboard in Canada, the water was still warmer than the air in deep winter. One winter we hauled the boat out intending to fly overseas for a few months and we ended up having to liveaboard on drydock for a couple of winter months. It was the coldest winter we ever had. We really missed the insulating effects of the water on the boat hull. And now on the Red Sea in a completely different climate we are having cool weather. This winter we've run a heater on and off (not while sleeping though) for a couple of months already.

Robyn and Manny
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Old 18-01-2012, 09:00   #45
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Re: Winter Liveaboard Tips and Tricks

ardoin, you're right. I didn't think about that side of the sistuation. The bilge and and engine do need to be heated. I've never lived aboard in a cold climate like you so I've never had to deal with it. I have considered doing it in NY though, so I like hearing about the issues you guys deal with. Sounds like it's pretty important to buy a boat that was built with insulation in the hull if you're doing it
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